SORT-DCTRL(1)                Debian user's manual                SORT-DCTRL(1)

       sort-dctrl - sort Debian control files

       sort-dctrl [options] [ file ...  ]

       sort-dctrl --copying | --help | --version | -ChV

       The  sort-dctrl  program sorts Debian control files according to speci-
       fied criteria.

       A Debian control (dctrl) file is a semistructured single-table database
       stored in a machine-parseable text file.  Such a database consists of a
       set of records; each record is a mapping from field names to field con-
       tent.   Textually,  records  are  separated  by empty lines, while each
       field is encoded as one or more nonempty  lines  inside  a  record.   A
       field  starts with its name, followed by a colon, followed by the field
       content.  The colon must reside on the first line of the field, and the
       first  line  must  start with no whitespace.  Subsequent lines, in con-
       trast, always start with linear whitespace (one or more  space  or  tab

       The  sort-dctrl  program  recognizes two field types: string fields and
       version fields.  Version fields act also  as  numeric  fields.   String
       fields  are compared according to strict lexicographical octet-by-octet
       comparison, after ignoring any  initial  whitespace  after  the  colon.
       Version fields are parsed and compared as Debian version numbers.  When
       comparing version numbers, if a field content does not in fact  conform
       to  the  version number syntax, it compares less than any field content
       that does conform, and equal to any other nonconforming field  content.
       The sort-dctrl program assumes all fields are string fields unless told

       You can specify arbitrary number of keys  for  sorting,  using  the  -k
       option.   The  keys  are interpreted in a descending order of priority:
       the first key specified is primary, the second key  specified  is  sec-
       ondary, and so on.  If two records compare equal under the primary key,
       then they are compared under the secondary key, and so on.  If no  keys
       are  specified,  a  default key is assumed (the "Package" field with no

       -k keyspec, --key-spec=keyspec
              Specify one or more keys for  sorting.   You  may  specify  this
              option  any number of times.  The keyspec argument consists of a
              comma-separated list of key specifications.  Each key specifica-
              tion  consists  of the name of the field that serves as the key,
              optionally followed by a colon and key modifiers.  The following
              key modifiers are supported:

              r      Invert the comparison for this key, reversing the sorting

              v      Treat this field as a version number field.

              n      Treat this field as numeric, which currently  is  synony-
                     mous with v.

       -q, --quiet, --silent
              Output  nothing  to  the  standard output stream.  Instead, exit
              immediately after finding the first match.

       -l level, --errorlevel=level
              Set log level to level.   level  is  one  of  fatal,  important,
              informational  and  debug,  but  the  last may not be available,
              depending on the compile-time  options.   These  categories  are
              given here in order; every message that is emitted when fatal is
              in effect, will be emitted in the important error level, and  so
              on. The default is important.

       -V, --version
              Print out version information.

       -C, --copying
              Print  out the copyright license.  This produces much output; be
              sure to redirect or pipe it somewhere (such  as  your  favourite

       -h, --help
              Print out a help summary.

       Here are some sample invocations of the program:

       sort-dctrl /var/lib/dpkg/available
              Output the dpkg available file sorted by the package name.

       sort-dctrl -k Version:v /var/lib/dpkg/available
              Output the dpkg available file sorted in ascending order of ver-
              sion numbers.

       sort-dctrl -k Version:vr /var/lib/dpkg/available
              Output the dpkg available file sorted  in  descending  order  of
              version numbers.

       sort-dctrl -k Package,Version:v /var/lib/dpkg/available
              Output  the  dpkg  available  file sorted primarily in ascending
              order of package names and secondarily in  descending  order  of
              version numbers.

       sort-dctrl -k Installed-Size:n,Size:nr /var/lib/dpkg/available
              Output  the  dpkg  available  file sorted primarily in ascending
              order of installation sizes and secondarily in descending  order
              of package sizes.

       The program and this manual page were written by Antti-Juhani Kaijanaho

       Debian Policy Manual.  Published as the Debian  package  debian-policy.
       Also available in the Debian website.


Debian Project                    2005-06-08                     SORT-DCTRL(1)
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